PHYLLIS PEOPLES | TERREBONNE GENERAL MEDICAL CENTER
Terrebonne General Medical Center has provided the highest quality of healthcare to the people of Houma and its surrounding areas since it was established in 1954. The hospital has frequently been awarded for their top-level standards and recently received a Hospital Safety Grade of “A” for Patient Safety, Women’s Choice Award and the Guardian of Excellence Award. President and CEO of TGMC Phyllis Peoples has successfully grown the hospital and positively influenced the communities around it – while building an inspirational career as one of the most notable female executives in the region.
What led you to the role you currently hold in your company? Did you see yourself in this position when you started out in the work force? “I knew I always wanted to help people and work in healthcare, therefore being a nurse was my mission. Through my years of working as a nurse and returning to graduate school for numerous master’s degrees and through the Tulane Doctorate program, I became more exposed to the business and operational sides of healthcare and found those aspects very challenging. Opportunities presented themselves and leaving the bedside to being in management, or even running a hospital became more appealing. It was a natural progression. Once I returned home and began my career at Terrebonne General Medical Center over 23 years ago, I did not immediately see myself in my current role as a hospital administrator. However, after some time working and growing along with our extremely talented, highly skilled staff who have committed their lives to caring for our local community, the opportunity presented itself and I was extremely prepared for my current position.”
\What is the biggest challenge you have faced over the years and how did you meet it?
“Healthcare is ever changing on many different levels. When I started in healthcare over 33 years ago, the majority of healthcare required a hospital stay, often lasting many days. Today, with changes in technology, healthcare has transitioned from providing care only in an inpatient hospital setting to offering outpatient services, or even services at home. All surgeries and many procedures that were done when I started 33 years ago required several days in the hospital, which today, due to development of less invasive technology, patients may return home within hours of the procedure, or possibly the same day for a surgery. Being able to stay on top of that change and sustain as a viable business with many different players requires tenacity, good communication skills, understanding and the ability to listen. I met my biggest challenges by building relationships with my staff, customers and community; and by not being afraid to think out of the box or have the willingness to take calculated risks for anticipated company growth.”
What piece of advice do you share with your employees/coworkers regularly?
“The keys to success are passion, persistence and flexibility. You must love what you do everyday and others will share your enthusiasm. Persistence and flexibility are also key because in the business of healthcare, there is always a large level of unpredictability.”
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
“My greatest accomplishment is being able to maintain balance between my personal and professional life, with both being extremely rewarding. TGMC has a very strong culture of family, and like families, there is an immense amount of compassion, support and pride portrayed in what they do each day. Being in healthcare is not always easy, but each person working in healthcare chose this profession to dedicate their time to help others feel better, which makes each of them unique and special to me. That commitment to caring for others everyday makes TGMC a very special place to work.”
Who are your greatest influencers? How do you feel knowing that others list you as theirs?
“My greatest influencers were members of my immediate family. My grandfather and father were pharmacists and my grandmother was a nurse. I saw how they loved what they did and I knew that was my goal, to help people and work in healthcare.
I am honored to positively impact my community on a daily basis in my role as President and CEO of TGMC. Being a female executive over the past 16 years has been my life’s mission. Each and every day my goal is to make a significant impact in all that I encounter. I continuously strive to be the best individual that I can be by motivating others and achieving goals for the greater good of an organization that is greater than myself.” •